Giri wins Sigeman & Co with 4.5/5

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Giri wins Sigeman & Co with 4.5/5Anish Giri today defeated co-leader Jon Ludvig Hammer in a direct encounter to win the 18th Sigeman & Co tournament with a score of 4.5/5 (and a 2920 performance rating). Hammer finished clear second with a point less.

The 18th Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament took place at the classical Hipp Theater in central Malmo from May 26 till 30. The event was organized by the Limhamn Chess Club and just like last year, when Nigel Short won, six players face each other in a single round-robin. The time control was 40 moves in 2 hours, then 20 moves in 1 hour, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

Round 4

On Saturday both the tournament leader and the tailender scored their first draw of the tournament. After three losses, Pia Cramling split the point with Nils Grandelius, but not before a short, but very sharp fight. The natural 14.Bc4 should be tried by White players next time, as it might give some chances.

After three victories Anish Giri drew with Johnny Hector, who preferred an unambitious variation of the Four Knights over the Petroff. It came down to checking whether Giri had done his homework, and the answer was yes. The two followed Wittmann-Greenfeld, Thessaloniki OL 1984 till the very end.

Hector-Giri Hector-Giri 15...Qh3! 16.Bxh7+ Kh8 17.Bg6+ Kg8 18.Bh7+ Kh8 draw - all theory.

This allowed Jon Ludvig Hammer to catch Giri in the standings, as he also reached a 3.5/4 score by beating Tiger Hillarp Persson. That 7.Qe2 move of Hammer is quite interesting, and had been tried just once before. Hillarp Persson was probably doing OK until 18...Qc8?! after which White could develop a decisive initiative.

Round 5

And so even with just five rounds in total, the tournament today had a nice apotheosis with the two tournament leaders fighting each other for first prize. And indeed they fought for it - especially Giri, who had the white pieces. The young Dutchman repeated moves in a well-known Catalan variation, but luckily only once (where games such as Harikrishna-Jakovenko, Eljanov-Jakovenko and Mazé-Onischuk indeed ended in a draw).

On move 19 Giri deviated from last year's Wang Yue-Carlsen; we noticed before that Hammer has a similar black repertoire as Norway's/the world's number one, and we don't think it's a coincidence. On move 21 Hammer took a principled decision.

Giri-Hammer, after 21.Nd3 Giri-Hammer

Instead of playing against a white bind, he exchanged his light-squared bishop for the white knight on b3, giving White a doubled pawn and making the break c7-c5 possible. This has only one disadvantage, and Giri went for it: the weak pawn on a6.

He had correctly judged that White could untangle his bishop, before Black would have time to create serious counterplay. Still, Hammer might have been able to hold it somewhere - especially at move 38. Black's last, slim chance was to flee into a rook ending on move 41; after that it was just waiting for the moment when Giri would sac the exchange and run with the pawns.

Giri-Hammer, after 21.Nd3 Giri-Hammer 54.Rxe7! was a nice way to win the tournament.

Grandelius beat Hector in a very difficult ending, and Hillarp Persson inflicted a fourth loss upon Cramling, using a very nice, postional exchange sacrifice. Both of these games are recommended for replay too.

Of the fifteen games in total, only four ended in draws. Hopefully for next year it will be possible to collect a bigger budget again, because Mr Johan Sigeman surely knows how to create a good (fighting) atmosphere in Malmo.

Games rounds 4-5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Sigeman & Co 2010 | Round 5 (Final) Standings
Sigeman & Co 2010 | Round 5 Standings

Anish Giri

Anish Giri added his name to the list of Sigeman & Co winners: Hellers, I.Sokolov, Korchnoi, Lautier, Gelfand, Polgar, Gulko, Short, Ivanchuk, Nielsen, Sasikiran, Timman, Cheparinov, Hillarp Persson and Short

Photo © Calle Erlandsson, who asked us to mention the Open Swedish Championship.


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